References – The raincoat boat bed and the shoe-shine missionary (draft)

[1] The windsurfer may be the only other type that was created by individuals rather than wider social and technological forces. Like the canoe, it used some leading-edge materials, but neither windsurfer or canoe were created by the possibilities of those materials, and neither of them were developed by a wider group.

[2] “John Macgregor” p 277

[3], retrieved 9/12/15.

[4] “John Macgregor” p 275

[5] “John Macgregor” p 278.

[6] The recent writers who have assumed that the Victorians would have looked down upon “native” canoes and kayaks are falling for a stereotype themselves.  In reality, many (although not all) Victorian era-canoeists were very impressed by the older craft; the Canadian canoe, for example, was seen as “incapable of improvement” for its use; “The County Gentleman: Sporting Gazette, Agricultural Journal, and The Man about Town of London”, July 30, 1892 pg. 1026.   As Folkard noted (The Sailing Boat page 534) “it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the most ingenious and scientific of European boat-builders, with twenty years or more experience in their art, to make a boat so admirably adapted to the purpose as the native kaiak.” Supporters of rowing boats did attack the canoe in the wake of Macgregor’s publicity, denouncing it as “the invention of savages….an imperfect, unscientific, uncomfortable imitation of the true boat”; see “John MacGregor” p 291.


[8] “John Macgregor” p 350

[9] John Macgregor p 297

[10] “John Macgregor” p 356 and

[11] The County Gentleman: Sporting Gazette, Agricultural Journal, and “The Man about Town” (London, England), Saturday, July 30, 1892; pg. 1026

[12] New York Times, August 1 1880

[13] C Bower Vaux   , courtesy Dragonfly

14] See for example “Modern Canoeing” Outing Vol 4 p 217

[15] “John MacGregor” notes at p 359 that a Reverend C.R. Fairey copied Macgregor by canoeing around Australia with religious tracts for watermen. See also NZ -Australian Town and Country Journal 26 Feb 1887 p 39

[15b]Re capsizing – Dixon Kemp’s 1884 edition says that as early as 1879, a canoe that capsized and filled recovered quickly enough to finish third in a field of 11 racers.

turdaebruary 1887

[16]  CANOE MEET AT THE THOUSAND ISLANDS. BY C. BOWYER VAUX. “  Outing, Vol 14, P 354.  As late as 1897 the Encyclopedia of Sport still referred to sailing as “the leading feature of present day canoeing” (p 171) and in 1892 it was stated that ‘the most remarkable feature in modern canoeing is the extent to which the paddle has been superseded by the sail”;( The County Gentleman: Sporting Gazette, Agricultural Journal, and “The Man about Town” London, England), Saturday, July 30, 1892; pg. 1026

[17] Macgregor’s second major cruise, for example, was one third under sail; John Macgregor p 289.

[18] WP Stephens, “Single-Hand cruising and single-hand craft”, Outing vol 36 p 384

[19] History of American Canoeing Pt 1, C. Bowyer Vaux, Outing Volume X issue 3 June 1887


[20] “The Dry-Fly of sailing” by “Uncle”, The Yachting Monthly, August 1924, p 287

[21] Still, there were occasional tragedies and some had near misses.  The Rector of Cheadle, Commodore of the Mersey Canoe Club, “narrowly escaped losing his life while boating with no other companion than one of his monkeys, who stood on his head until finally washed away by the waves.”  The Rector later became one of the world’s leading experts on show dogs, which was probably safer for him and for his monkeys.


[22]  Account from The Field,  Oct 7 1871, quoted in Forest and Stream, June 3 1896.


p 216; “History of American Canoeing Pt 1, C. Bowyer Vaux, Outing Volume X issue 3 June 1887 p 260, and letter to the editor by Vaux, Outing Vol 6 p 237. Leeboards had been used in open Canadian canoes in 1860 and centerboards by 1865, but the open decks, high ends and hull shape of such types meant that they could not perform as well under sail as the decked canoe.  Quite why the centerboard and leeboard apparently took so long to be adopted into decked canoes is a mystery.

[23] See for example the report of Clyde Canoe Club racing in Glasgow Herald of 15 Sept 1875.

[24] “History of American Canoeing Pt 1, C. Bowyer Vaux, Outing Volume X issue 3 June 1887 p269.

[25] Outing vol 10 p 364

26] Forest and Stream Nov 27 1890 p 386. Some canoes carried even more ballast, with an article in The American Canoeist for June 1886 (p 100) saying that a couple of years earlier, 300 to 350lb of ballast was “not an uncommon amount”.

[27] “Canoe Handling”, second edition 1885, Forest and Stream Publishing Co, C Bower Vaux,

27 re Nautils and Pear winning -Forest and Stream, April 29 1886

[27b] “The Canoe – How to build and manage it” by   Alden, Scribner’s Magazine, August 1872.

[28] “History of American Canoeing” Outing Vol X, Issue 3 June 1887 p268

[29] History of American Canoeing” Outing Vol X, Issue 3 June 1887 p269

[30] History of American Canoeing Pt II, C Bowyer Vaux, Outing

[31] Outing vol 10 p 361.  In “upset races” each canoe had to be capsized and recovered in the middle of a race.

[32] The County Gentleman: Sporting Gazette, Agricultural Journal, and “The Man about

Town” (London, England), Saturday, August 22, 1891; pg. 1145;

[33] Encyclopedia of Sport, Canoeing, p172

[34] Outing Vol 14 p 354.

[35] Outing August 1887, History of American Canoeing Pt III by C Bowyer Vaux p 407. CHECK CHECK CHECK

[36] THE CANOEING OF TO-DAY. by c. bowyer vaux. Outing Vol 16 p 214 and THE AMERICAN CANOE ASSOCIATION, AND ITS BIRTHPLACE, by c. bowyer vaux. Outing Vol 12  p 419; Outing vol o4 p 108

“They are somewhat prone to get out of order” , Canoes and Canoeing, Vaux, 1894

[37] The Canoeing of Today, C Bowyer Vaux, Outing Volume XVI, 2 May 1890 p 135

[38] Trads and memos MBing oct 42 p 84.

[39] F & S Jan 8 1891 p 506   and ors – planks strained retrofitted and early  anoes  AND tiller extension?  Short fore and aft tiller and deck yoke applied by Vaux in Dot. “As men learned to sit further out some means of reaching the tiller was necessary, and a second

handle, jointed to the first, was added. This same gear has been used on the majority of canoes.  The tiller extension can also be seen in some contemporary canoe plans.

[40] History of American Canoeing Part III, Outing August    p 403

[41] Canoeing Under Sail,      Sailing Craft, ed by SChoettle, p 118

[42] NY Spirit of the Times 1884 p 773

[43] “Modern Canoeing”, Outing Vol 3 p220

[44] “The only requisites for membership are that the applicant must be a canoeist and a gentleman.” THE AMERICAN CANOE ASSOCIATION, AND ITS BIRTHPLACE, by c. bowyer vaux. Outing Vol 12  p 418

“their twin companions, betting and gambling”:- The American Canoeist, June 1882 p 72

[45] F & S Jan 15 1891 p 525   (also referred to pros as “the men who sail sloops an catboats off Coney Island with advertisements of soap and patent medicines pained on the sails”.

[46] History of American Canoeing Vol II, C Bowyer Vaux, Outing Vol 10 p 369

[47] Trad and Mem MotorBoating October 1941 p 84

[48] See for example EB Tredwen quote on p 86 of “Amateur Canoe Building”.

[49] Trad and Mem MotorBoating October 1941 p 84

[49] Forest and Stream, April 29 1886

[49b] These figures from “Rushton and His Times in American Canoeing”, by Atwood Manley

“like some other British sailors he had already fitted a tiller so that he could steer from on deck”:- See The American Canoeist, June 1886 p 100


[51] C Bowyer Vaux, appendix.  Pescowic SELECTED FOR ICC   but as Vaux noted, ““Her performance at the ’86 A. C. A. meet were the talk of the canoeing world for over two years in England, Germany and America. This arrangement did not and cannot prove popular for obvious reasons. It is a racing expedient, and perfectly allowable as such.”[51]

[51b] Progress in canoeing

[52] “The International Canoe Race”, Outing Vol 9 p 169

[53] Bower Vaux, appendix to          ,

[54] One of the British sailors was already aware of the American position and had fitted his boat with a tiller that could be used while sitting on deck, although he still sat in the boat downwind. Stevens says that it was Baden-Powell (Trad and Memoro,s MotorB Oct 41 p 84) but Vaux, who probably knew better as the winner, says (in  Note Outing vol 9 p 167) that it was the less experienced Stewart, who finished third in the regatta.  Only the first finisher in each nation’s two-man team counted.

[55] Stephens Tad and Me Oct 41 MotorBoating p 84

[56] In Forest & Stream Jan 8 1891 p 506 it was noted that the modern type of tiller extension that had been used in some canoes was “defective in two points.  It is so weak in construction as to be very easily broken, and also from its weakness and the fact that it swings freely it is of no aid to the main in regaining his position after hiking out…the mishaps to the old tiller in the races at the meet probably settled its fate, and the new (thwartships) one will supplant it entirely wherever the sliding seat is used.”

[57] Encyclopedia of Sport, Canoeing, p 172

[58] Wilt says that the canoes developed by Butler could recover from a capsize easily, but Vaux noted in “THE AMERICAN CANOE ASSOCIATION, AND ITS BIRTHPLACE, by c. bowyer vaux. Outing Vol 12  p 420” that the big rigs of the later canoes made it harder to bring them upright than with earlier craft.

[59] Canoeing Under Sail,    Sailing Craft p 120.

[60] Canoeing Under Sail,     , Sailing Craft p 118-119.

[61] Information on rig from T and M, MotorBoating Nov 41 p 54.  See “The modern single-hand cruiser” by C Bowyer Vaux, outing Vol 22

[62] Outing vol 14 p 354 saoid that this ‘standing rig” was first used in the famous canoe Pescowid in 1886.

[62] “Scantling regulation in yachting”, W P Stephens,

[63] CB Vaux, Editor’s open Window, Outing Vol 14 p 313

[64] “Editor’s Open Window, Canoeing”, Outing vol 16 p 495

[65] “Canoes and Canoeing” Warrington Baden-Powell in “the Encyclopedia of Sport”, F.G. Aflolo et al (eds) London, 1897 p 172

[66] Forest and Steam, p 412 May 12 1894

[67] Fordst na Stream jan 26 1893 p 83

[68][68] For every inch the beam was increased over 30”, sail area could be increased by 3 ft2, while for every inch under 16’ the sail area had to be increased by ¼ ft2.  Beam had to be between 1/3 and 5/32 of overall length.  There were also minimum depth, waterline beam and weight limits. “Canoeing Under Sail”, Wilt in “Sailing Craft”, p 120 and 130.

Wilt’s complaint about the weight of the “racing machines” is something I still have to follow up. Some of the later big-rig US canoes reverted to ballast, perhaps because the power of the sliding seat allowed them to carry such large sails that they needed (and could afford) some ballast to keep them upright when tacking or gybing.

[69] Champion canoes of To-day, R.B. Burchard, Outing vol 30 p 226

[70] Later it was reported that there was a swing back to ballast.  “Canoeing”, Bowyer Vaux, p 20 he says that Toltec, which won the International Challenge Cup for 1891 against a Canadian challenger, had 100lb of ballast.  Her skipper “belayed both sheets in a strong, puffy breeze, and slid in and out on his long sliding seat as required, sometimes having both feet against the outside of his canoe, and directing his course by occasionally touching the tiller with his aftermost foot.”

[71] Outing, Vol 29     p 143

[72] Outing vol 30, The champion Mab, reported in the same article, had a 5’3” sliding

[72] Outing vol 30, The champion Mab, reported in the same article, had a 5’3” sliding seat, 16 x 30, silk sails of 136 sq ft, storm sails of 90-, hollow masts, 1/8” wjite cedar planks, toe operated cam cleats but varnished rawhide fittings instead of brass, cockpit draining through CB case.

[73] See also “THE CANOEING OF TO-DAY By LEONIDAS HUBBARD, Jr.” Outring Vol 40 p 700;

BROOKLYN EAGLE 17 May 1896 p16

[74] Forest and Steam, p 412 May 12 1894.  By “rater types” one means boats lilke the Scarecrow, wich were nbot designed as Raters but followed the same style. The typical “canoe yawl” was a small double-ended yawl-rigged centreboard cruising yacht about 18-   long, which developed in north England from about     .

[75] Gordon K (Sandy) Douglass, “Sixty Years behind the mast – the fox on the water” p

[75b] The Rudder, May 1915, p 253. See also the London Times, quoted in American Canoeist, November 1882 p 155.

[76] “THE CANOEING OF TO-DAY By LEONIDAS HUBBARD, Jr.” Outring Vol 40 p 705;


Author: cthom249

A former sailing journalist and magazine editor, I was lucky enough to grow up in Sydney, one of the world's sailing hotspots and to win national and state championships in classes like J/24s, Windsurfer One Designs, offshore racers, Laser Radial open, Windsurfer OD Masters, Raceboard Masters and Laser Radial Masters, to get into the placings in a few other classes, and do a few Sydney to Hobarts.

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